News & Insights

Super crane tops-off Morgan Sindall's 60-metre Manchester air traffic control tower

Morgan Sindall has deployed one of the tallest cranes in Europe to put the finishing touches to Manchester Airport’s newly constructed £16 million air traffic control tower.

The 800-tonne, 90-metre high crane was required to lift the sub-cab section of the control tower 60 metres into the air, before guiding it to its finished position on the top of the tower shaft. The crane took four days to build but the lift itself was completed in under two hours and involved two ‘banksmen’ sitting on top with radios, charged with guiding the two 10mm guide rods into place.

The 168-tonne sub-cab, which was built at ground level, is the equivalent size of a four-storey house. The tower shaft was constructed in just nine days using the slipform technique, which involved Morgan Sindall pouring concrete continuously for 222 hours and saw the structure increase in height at an average rate of around 27cm an hour.

Jim Morgan, area director at Morgan Sindall, says: “This was a very complex phase of a major project which required months of planning. The crane itself is a serious piece of kit and had to be brought to the site in 25 articulated lorries and assembled by six smaller cranes. The lift was a smooth operation and we even got a break in the weather which meant the spectators got a great view of a pretty unique construction event.

“Securing this contract is testament to the expertise Morgan Sindall has developed in the UK aviation sector and we’re currently on-site at seven of the UK’s 15 major airports. We’re looking forward to seeing the air traffic control tower up and running when it is completed in Spring 2013.”

Morgan Sindall started work on the £7 million contract in December 2011. Once completed, the tower, which provides 360-degree panoramic views across the entire airfield, will house a visual control room, an approach radar section and navigation, surveillance and communication equipment.

Manchester Airport’s new ATC tower is pre-let to NATS, the UK’s leading air traffic control company, which will relocate its existing Manchester air traffic control centre from its current location on top of the Tower Block building in between Terminals One and Three at the airport.


For more information about this news release please contact Pete Lappin or Ruth Cobban at Paver Smith on 07971 350 118 / 0151 239 5000 or email